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City of Bellevue hoping to help restaurants expand outdoor dining this summer

A webinar Thursday included resources like marketing assistance, free one-on-one advising and available grant money.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The City of Bellevue hopes to help its restaurants expand outdoor dining spaces as summer nears.

A webinar on Thursday morning gave participating restaurant owners the details on a plan to help them.

It included resources like marketing assistance, free one-on-one advising, and available grant money from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

"Restaurants have been asking for the opportunity to do this for years and diners have wanted it as well, so if that becomes the new norm, then I think it's great," Mayor Lynne Robinson said.

Robinson said five restaurants in downtown Bellevue were able to create on-street patio spaces last year with the help of a city pilot program. She said some of these businesses had better summers than ever - during the pandemic - after adding the new dining option.

According to the city of Bellevue, 84% of residents responded to a survey saying the outdoor dining option played a significant role in their decision to dine out on their neighborhood.

"I assume that [restaurant dining] is going to be restricted for sometime and the outdoor dining will be a great opportunity," Robinson said. "It's about taking advantage of an opportunity to expand your service but maintain the safety of your customers." 

For more information on the city's new outdoor dining program, visit the website here.